12 Match Star Ratings For WWE SummerSlam 2019

A boring, terrifying and improbably triumphant party.

Brock Lesnar Seth Rollins

The build to SummerSlam, powered though it was by a new and interesting direction, was still a bit strange.

Overshadowed by both the dire RAW Reunion and a major, very divisive angle that wasn't paid off on the night, what did directly impact SummerSlam was mixed. The disturbing, full-on Brock Lesnar assaults should have portrayed Seth Rollins as a sympathetic figure - had WWE and Rollins himself not conspired to make him almost deserving of them. Across recent months, Rollins has been framed as a Stone Cold Steve Austin-adjacent backstage terrorist, a mugging, profoundly unfunny John Cena clone, and a shattered, never-say-die babyface. The awful disses and weirdly hushed soliloquies painted Rollins as character of no identity nor integrity. His recent Twitter horror show hardly helped.

In contrast, the Kofi Kingston Vs. Randy Orton programme was assisted and enhanced by WWE's peerless production department, Orton's wonderfully sinister character work, and a rare but no less welcome approach to continuity.

Fittingly, given SummerSlam's 'Bizarro World' location, Toronto, the match with the sucky build ruled, and the match with the excellent build absolutely sucked the life out of the crowd...

12. Drew Gulak Vs. Oney Lorcan - Cruiserweight Title Match

Brock Lesnar Seth Rollins

Oney Lorcan is, ordinarily, as endearing as he is explosive - all id, he is at his best in out of control tag team scenarios in which he flings himself about the ring, as if possessed by a demon that likes to hit people really, really hard.

This wasn't that.

A controlled, clinical mat battle, this was an attritional (that is a euphemism) EVOLVE-style match performed in an arena full of punters not inclined to enjoy the so-called 'grapple-f*ck' style. When Lorcan did unleash his strikes, he wasn't carried by the same frenetic energy. Presumably under orders to perform in a certain gear, he looked subdued out there. And, in contrast to the power-driven Buddy Murphy, Gulak's mat-based approach isn't calibrated to win over a cold audience of casuals.

Even then, the faint enthusiasm never carried over to 205 Live, and so whatever attraction is shunted on the Kickoff show hardly matters. Still, surely the 205 Live showcase should manifest as a multi-man banger of sorts, if only to light up the crowd ahead of the main card. Otherwise, it's a total waste of time. That might read as disrespectful - they gave themselves to the match - but it wasn't invigorating.

Just a dry, underwhelming match that depicted Gulak as a clever enough strategist at the expense of the promising dynamic.

Star Rating: **1/2


Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champions Kenny Omega and MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!